Last season, Smalling strengthened Roma on loan from Manchester United. He then became one of Paulo Fonseca’s mainstays at Roma’s back line and made 37 appearances in all competitions.
Smalling returned to MU after his loan contract expired last August. After going through a long negotiation process, Roma finally reached an agreement with MU to make Smalling permanent.
Roma completed the England defender’s transfer on the last day of the summer window on October 5. Smalling was bound by a three-year contract by the Giallorossi.
Smalling admitted to being impressed by the passion of football in Rome. He was even more determined to return to Rome.
“I think his passion. Everyone here lives and breathes football. This is something that is talked about endlessly,” Smalling said in an interview with the club’s official website.
“Obviously when I first arrived they were talking about the derby and how we have to win it, and then even from my first match I thought it was a great feeling and something I never wanted to leave.”
After the transfer was complete, Smalling landed in Rome on Tuesday (6/10/2020) local time. The 30-year-old defender received a warm welcome from I Lupi’s supporters at the airport.
“It’s really special. I got goosebumps. Seeing the big crowd as soon as I landed … to be honest, I felt the love from the fans the first time I stepped onto the pitch. But since then it’s been growing and growing and it’s a special feeling,” said Smalling.
“I have never experienced it. Several times I have seen players join in several places and they may be greeted with great fanfare, but to experience it for yourself is something that is never thought of. Getting such a welcome makes me want to really reply as best I can,” he said. .